By Tobias Lengnan Dapam, with agency report
The federal government has alerted that Sokoto, Yobe and Benue states, as well certain parts of the Niger Delta Basin are prone to flood as the nation enters into the peak of this year’s raining season.
This alert was issued by the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, while presenting the 2014 Flood Outlook for the country yesterday, at an event organised by Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Presenting the 2014 flooding forecast, the minister urged Nigerians to take the report seriously and also called for inter-agency collaboration in order to effectively prevent, control, and respond to cases of flooding across the country.
The announcement became the second time the agency was issuing a flood outlook for the country, since it was established.
The government established the agency in 2013 after 27 states across the federation experienced severe flooding, which killed over 400 people and displaced about two million others in 2012. The mandate of the agency includes, to provide advance flood warnings in order to prevent disasters.
While some officials at this event, like the Managing Director, Lower Benue River Basin Development Agency, Roseline Chenge, suggested the evacuation of citizens from risk prone areas, Guest Lecturer at the event, Adebayo Adeloye, advised that putting necessary infrastructure in place was key.
It would be recalled that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), last year, issued flooding alert following an announcement by Nigeria Metrological Agency (NIMET) in its seasonal rainfall prediction, that there would be more flooding in the year.
The Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, had said the agency spent N1.3 billion to provide relief and manage flood disasters in the country in 2012.
Sani-Sidi urged state governments to quickly evacuate people living along the floodplains to reduce the risk of flooding this year.
This was in response to the complaints of many in the rural dwellers, who were most vulnerable, that unless they were relocated, they had nowhere to go.
He also listed the communities that would be vulnerable to flooding this year, according to the findings of NIMET.
According to him, those states to be affected by severe flooding this year include Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara in the North-west, while the entire South-south and South-west zones will be affected.
The agency had also predicted that the rainfall pattern in most parts of Nigeria was likely to be similar to that of 2012.